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Graduated Response Tool

The purpose of this document is to ensure every child and young person in a Somerset school receives the support they are entitled to.

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Most children and young people (CYP) with SEN will have their needs met in their local mainstream setting

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

‘Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder. Schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people, including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so it does not adversely affect other pupils. The Department for Education publishes guidance on managing pupils’ mental health and behaviour difficulties in schools’. Code of Practice, 6.32 and 6.33.

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) – Universal

See the Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Universal table at full width
What will you see? (Barriers)What can help? (Strategies and provision)

You may see behaviours listed below, this may be infrequent and respond to provision that is expected for all CYP.

It is likely that a lot of CYP will display these behaviours at some point during their school career, but it does not mean they have a SEN.

Ability to plan, attend, organise, regulate themselves and manage change

  • Forgetting materials or instructions, not paying attention, disliking change in routine, impulsive behaviours, difficulty remaining on task, difficulty with task transition, rushing work.
  • Level of hyper vigilance and their disproportionate ‘fight, flight, freeze’ response
  • Verbal and physical aggression, inappropriate language, self-sabotaging behaviours, hiding, agitated, fidgety, age-inappropriate behaviours, withdrawn, distress at change.

Attendance at school

  • Reduction in attendance/ and or being late and patterns of non-attendance, parent carers report challenges getting their CYP into school, missing lessons, difficulties with transition.
  • Frequent illnesses i.e. tummy ache, headache

Maintaining healthy peer relationships and friendships

  • Falling out with peers, not forming positive relationships, needs to feel in control of peer relationships, difficulties maintaining appropriate boundaries and relationships, physical aggression with others, isolated from peers, sensitive to disagreements, lacks resilience to repair the relationship, rejecting others

Managing and/or regulating their emotions (e.g. quick emotional reactions to seemingly small stimuli)

  • Disruptive behaviour e.g. throwing chairs, destroying work, verbal and/ or physical aggression.
  • Emotional outbursts, tears, screaming and shouting, self-injurious behaviours

Behaviour at home that may not be seen at school

  • A change in behaviour at home, for example emotional at the end of the day which may present as challenging behaviours, withdrawal, difficulties with sleep, eating, self-care and independence
  • Engagement with the curriculum
  • Avoiding work e.g. asking to leave the classroom, looking for resources, disruption and distraction, refusal to comply with adult requests, withdrawal, shouting out, getting up and wondering around, running away
  • Change in demeanour and/or appearance
  • Change in appearance, attitude to learning, motivation to engage with peers, quieter or louder in class.

Changes may have occurred quickly or over time

  • Unpredictability of behaviour with lack of obvious triggers
  • Behaviour does not seem to follow particular patterns, triggers may seem unrelated, behaviours seem vary or change on a regular basis.
  • Low confidence and/ or self-esteem
  • Fear of failure, risk avoidance, negative self-talk/appraisal of self, difficulty accepting praise, fixed mindset, unable to experience joy in successFailure to make anticipated progress across many areas of the curriculum. This might include reduced progress in core subjects (such as maths, English, science) and/or progress in other subjects areas.

Due to the complex nature of SEMH needs the strategies below are applicable to many of the barriers to the left

  • Ongoing communication between home and school
  • Parent carer toolkit for advice for parent/ carers
  • Somerset children & young people : Health & Wellbeing Toolkit (cypsomersethealth.org)
  • Educational Psychology SEMH Toolkit
  • Supporting emotional wellbeing and promoting positive behaviour and mental health within educational settings using evidence-based practice SSE-EPS-0518-A001SEMH-Toolkit.PDF (ehcap.co.uk)
  • Whole School ApproachSchool Policies which are underpinned by attachment and relationship-based principles
  • Guidance-for-Developing-Relational-Practice-and-Policy.pdf (somersetvirtualschool.co.uk)
  • Somerset Wellbeing Audit Somerset children & young people : Health & Wellbeing : Wellbeing Framework Getting Started (cypsomersethealth.org)
  • A positive and proactive approach to the social and emotional wellbeing and resilience of the whole school community; consider school community PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrow’s with Hope). These can be facilitated by your school educational psychologist PATH -Helen Sanderson Associates Ongoing CPD for all staff:
  • Adverse Child (or young person) Experiences (ACE’s), anxiety, sleep, mindfulness, wellbeing and physical activity, therapeutic use of stories, loss and bereavement, supporting adults in school and CYPs with SEN.
  • Wellbeing for Education Return - Training Videos for Education Staff | Support Services for Education(scroll down for e-learning training videos)
  • Restorative approaches which are used to build, maintain, and repair relationships.
  • Restorative Solutions: Making it work (inclusive-solutions.com)restorative-practices-guide.pdf (schottfoundation.org)
  • PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy) approach is a way of thinking, feeling, communicating, and behaving that aims to make the CYP feel safe. It is based upon how adults connect with CYP
  • Emotion coaching is a communication strategy which supports CYP self-regulate and manage their stress response “I wonder if...” https://www.emotioncoachinguk.com 
  • CYP-centred planningWhole School Approach to mental health wellbeing MHST/use of the i-thrive model-(not currently available for all schools)
  • i-THRIVE | Implementing the THRIVE Framework https://implementingthrive.org
  • Somerset Big Tent Home -Somerset Big Tent, empowering CYP to find the right wellbeing support at the right time Thrive https://www.thriveapproach.com/about-thrive/ Tools and training to help adults support the social and emotional development of CYP using a whole school approach
  • Universal - All CYP
  • Solution focused approach to a range of different behaviours; focus on strengths/interests
  • Personalised learning targets
  • Safe predictable environment with clear expectations
  • Class emotions board
  • Circle time/PSHE Lessons (Jigsaw/SEAL) focusing on various skills such as self-regulation
  • Relaxation activities as part of timetable –mindfulness, breathing, sports, yoga, colouring, drawing, story time (adult reading to CYP)
  • Consistent rules within the classroom that are appropriately differentiated where necessary
  • Zones in the classroom/ safe space, including calm zone
  • Sensory tent/resources for use by whole class
  • Teach calming strategies e.g. breathing exercises, counting down
  • Keeping records of concerns
  • Notice CYPs being kind (kindness tree) Kindness UK -Promoting, Sharing & Uniting Kindness)
  • Put CYP into pairings rather than expecting them to choose/buddying.
  • Growth mindset -Carol Dweck https://www.mindsetworks.com/science 
  • Visual timetable for all CYPSocial, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Universal
  • Developmentally appropriate play-based activities/creative activities e.g. messy play, playdough, drumming, music
  • Daily check in/daily meet and greet
  • Keeping in mind strategy e.g. invisible string
  • Change of face (changing adults to help deescalate a situation)
  • Plan targeted opportunities to build positive relationships with the CYP
  • Give the CYP a responsibility or special role to increase self-esteem
  • Set tasks with clear goals, outputs, and timescales for completion
  • Use short, clear instructions; recap and reinforce these during lessons
  • Make tasks short, with frequent breaks and opportunities to move around
  • Provide ‘scaffolding’ in the form of writing frames, word mats, relevant classroom displays, ac-cess to technology
  • Remind CYP of a rule or expectation. Label the behaviour, not the CYP. Say what you want them to do, rather than what you don’t

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) – SEN support

Where limited or no progress is made using Universal strategies, further assessment of barriers should take place. This assessment will inform which strategies at both Universal and SEN Support should be put into place. Progress will be monitored through successive ADPR cycles.

See the Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) SEN support table at full width
What can help?(Strategies and provision)

To include Universal support plus:

A continuation of collaboration between home and school which adds to the universal provision already in place.

Where appropriate complete an Early Help Assessment (Professional Choices) and or Pastoral Support Plan to gather information and refer onto other support agencies.

Educational settings should provide developmentally appropriate provision

  • Outdoor activities e.g. forest school, scooters/bikes, football, trim trails, digging, gardening, running
  • SEMH group interventions e.g. Talkabout, socially speaking, Time to talk, Emotional Literacy Support Assistants, Nuture groups, SEAL
  • Parent and Family Support Advisor
  • Circle of friends
  • ‘Help me’ card/ ‘time out’ card/exit card
  • Activities to support emotional regulation e.g. Zones of Regulation (Kuypers) and the Incredible 5-point Scale (Dunn-Buron)
  • Aone-page profilecreated by parent carers or teaching staff, along with the CYP, to give a snapshot of a CYP likes, dislikes, strengths and areas where they might need a bit more support
  • Identify a key person to talk about worries and support with problem solving
  • Model, coach and reinforce skills for collaborative group work
  • Teach CYP specific behavioural skills (e.g. how to ask for help)
  • Now and next boards
  • Planned, regular ‘meet and greet’ that involves key adult(s) which is recorded on a support plan and is provided with a specificoutcome in mind
  • Elements of universal provision would be considered SEN support when it is personalised to the CYP and is delivered on a one to one or small group basis
  • EBSA (emotionally based school avoidance) guidance Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) –Information, Guidance & Resources | Support Services for Education
  • Nurture group Home -NurtureUK
  • Team around the School https://professionalchoices.org.uk/early-help/tas/
  • Team Around the Family Early Help Assessment (EHA) and Supporting Documents –Professional Choices
  • Access to the Partnership Panel and support through the pupil referral units (links to schools below)
  • Explore alternative provision, Alternative Provision Directory (somerset.gov.uk)
  • Individual Visual timetable/now and next boards
  • Buddying www.forestschoolassociation.org
  • Adult support where required/ Key adults
  • Therapy (play, art, lego etc)
  • Parent and Family Support Advisor (Level 2) Family Intervention Service Worker (Level 3)
  • Temporary hybrid timetable Guidance for using Part Time Timetables.docx (live.com)(AV1 robots (SSE website) with clear intentions to increase this over time and through the APDR process https://www.supportservicesforeducation.co.uk/Services/5586
  • Use of scripts, consistent language. (Comic strip conversations, social stories (Carol Gray) https://www.autism.org.uk
  • Developmentally appropriate alternative provision with clear SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited) goals (Somerset AP document)
  • Reasonable adjustments to behaviour policy
  • Worry box/worry monster/ book of worries
  • Have jobs for the CYP to complete to add in extra movement opportunities
  • Low stakes tasks to build resilience –split tasks into smaller chunks so that CYP can complete tasks more frequently
  • Adapt/personalise the environment. Resources prepared for short activities –option B. Own working space with peers
  • Controlled choices within timetable
  • Social skills support with adult intervention
  • Classroom transition support –music, important job, snack time either side of break, pre-warning, visual timetable
  • CYP prepared for the days events where possible –and supported visually -strategy for unexpected changes –whoops card, visual timetable
  • Support the process of relationship repair –the relate –rupture –repair cycle
  • Personalised curriculum

Social, Emotional and Mental Health – Quick guide

See the Graduated Response Tool – Quick Checker Social, Emotional and Mental Health table at full width
There are concerns about the child or young person’s:Yes / No
Ability to plan, attend, organise, regulate themselves and manage change.
Level of hyper vigilance and their disproportionate ‘fight, flight, freeze’ response.
Attendance at school.
Maintaining healthy peer relationships and friendships.
Behaviour at home that may not be seen at school.
Engagement with the curriculum.
Changes in demeanour and/or appearance.
Unpredictability of behaviour with lack of obvious triggers.
Low confidence and/or self-esteem.
Failure to make anticipated progress across many areas of the curriculum.

Last reviewed: September 14, 2023 by Keir

Next review due: March 14, 2024

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